The planters might still be largely plant-less, but they’ve already had an impact on the look and feel of Disney Village, adding curves and hidden corners to the previously flat and square street. Curiously, they’ve been used to enclose many of the concrete footers of the old pylons, with no signs of these being removed.
Either the square bases will be expensive or difficult to remove, due to electrics and cabling inside, or they have been kept for some other reason, perhaps seasonal decorations or events.
Further down the street, near New York Style Sandwiches and Disney Fashion, the planters circle outwards from the supports of the undercover areas. There are around seven new planters in total, ranging from a small circle next to Annette’s Diner to the large expanse now covered under Planet Hollywood‘s staircase.
At the entrance to the Village, where wooden-bordered planters first appeared before the full concrete edges arrived, nothing has yet to fill the extra gap, as the concrete pieces are still slotted into place. The planters here create large circular seating areas from the empty area previously used by attractions such as the mechanical bull.
The planters aren’t the only additions to Disney Village in the 2008 slate of improvements. Behind the wall of blue fences to the left of the entrance, another new stand is currently under construction. Its metal structure can just be seen above the fence. This follows the recent addition of a proper stand for Marriott’s holiday village sales next to the Planet Hollywood boutique (see the first photo on this page).
On the subject of Planet Hollywood itself, there’s reason for a real celebration. Because, whilst the rest of the Village might be “going green”, the iconic globe of this restaurant has finally lost its years of green moss and dirt to return to a bright blue, thanks to a long-awaited refurbishment…
The globe had already been given a substantial clean-up in recent weeks, before the arrival of stakeholder Sylvester Stallone, but the two photos below do give a good impression of the improvement to this location which, for many, is their first impression of Disney Village. The repainting is still ongoing, with the lowest section of the globe still awaiting paint and new white cloud patterns still to be applied on top.
There’s a return to form elsewhere in the Village, too, and quite an unexpected one. Just a few years after closing in favour of the new NEX Arcade underneath the IMAX cinema on the Village’s future new street, the games arcade in the former Central Stage area has reopened!
The area has remained empty and untouched since the arcade “moved”, but has now reopened with a dark and simply interior design and simple, rather amateurish signage outside. This must raise questions about the popularity of the NEX arcade, and their feelings about being made practically redundant with the reopening of this location. The games at NEX might be better, and it might offer miniature 10-pin “fun” bowling, but will any guests now walk so far out of the way for it?
Finally, with all these additions, it might be hard to overlook one of the most dramatic and surprising losses from Disney Village in recent weeks — the iconic Billy Bob’s Country Western Saloon sign.
As shown in the photo inset, the sign has survived all previous refurbishments and improvement programmes at the Village, but lost at the final hurdle. It follows the removal of the Billy Bob’s signage, awning and many painted decorations from the building in recent weeks. There has been no word of the Country Western Saloon theme disappearing, and so we can only assume this refurbishment will simply be much, much more ruthless than any in the past…